Home Christian Lifestyle Healthy Living Ghost in the Machine, Part 4 — The War on Supplements, Essential Oils and Homeopathy By Dr. Mercola

Ghost in the Machine, Part 4 — The War on Supplements, Essential Oils and Homeopathy By Dr. Mercola

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If you suspect that supplements are more popular than ever, you are right. More than half of American adults have used one or more supplements and more than half of women and 43 percent of men used a supplement of some kind within the last 30 days.1,2

While that means not takirang vitamins or supplements is now a minority position, it also means Big Pharma is trying to get “in on” the supplement business. The U.S. retail sales of vitamins and supplements is expected to exceed $36 billion in 2017.3 While that’s less than a tenth of what Pharma rakes in annually, it has nevertheless caught the drug industry’s attention.

Also, the highest users of supplements and alternative therapies are the most desirable demographic to marketers — those reporting “excellent” or “very good” health, usually with a higher discretionary income.4 No wonder Pharma and Pharma-supported voices have launched an all-out smear campaign against supplements and alternative therapies. Both categories lack the huge price tags of drugs and encourage patient education and self-care.

Supplements and natural products also often treat or prevent the very conditions that enrich drug companies, which further explains Big Pharma’s wrath. For example, probiotic-rich fermented food treats the heartburn for which Pharma hawks dangerous proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Omega-3 fats such as krill oil and other nonprescription products lower heart disease risks without using dangerous statins.

Prescription drugs can also increase the need for supplements. If you take a diuretic, an acid-blocking PPI or the diabetes drug metformin, you are more likely to develop vitamin or mineral deficiencies.5

Traditional Media Outlets Question Value of Supplements

In 2016, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a large study of U.S. supplement usage that found, according to The New York Times:6

“Americans spend more than $30 billion a year on dietary supplements — vitamins, minerals and herbal products, among others — many of which are unnecessary or of doubtful benefit to those taking them. That comes to about $100 a year for every man, woman and child for substances that are often of questionable value.”

Elsewhere in recent years, negative news articles about vitamin C, vitamin A and beta carotene, vitamin E, vitamin B6, vitamin D, calcium and multivitamins have run. Supplements like ginkgo biloba, echinacea, fish oil and ephedrine are also under attack, as are homeopathy and aromatherapy.7,8,9,10

Story at-a-glance

  • As supplements and alternative therapies become more popular, Pharma is calling them ineffective and possibly harmful
  • The drug industry accuses the supplement industry of false claims and manufacturing irregularities — the same problems which afflict Pharma
  • Even as Big Pharma discredits supplements, many drug companies market their own vitamins and supplements

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